SEO Test: Does Google pass PageRank to a URL in a comment?

I have seen a trend with some of the WordPress plugin developers…they add a commented link to their site in the header of the plugin.  Sometimes they only do it on the pages their plugin is active…sometimes on all pages.  So it made me wonder – does Google give any merit to these thinks…my SEO marketing friend Dave say “Let’s test it.”

The Question:

Does Google pass PageRank to a URL in a comment just as though the URL were a link?

The Test:

  • Generate 7 nonsense words (make sure there are no results in Google for each word).
  • Create 6 pages. Each page uses 1 nonsense keyword for the URL. All pages use the 7th keyword (and only the 7th keyword) in the title (and only in the title).
  • For the six pages, generate 5 random sentences (to lessen the likelihood of duplicate content issues).
  • Separate the 6 pages into 3 groups.  (A,B & C)
    • Group A: add HTML commented links on all pages of the site.  (view source on a Google bot css hidden div page to see these links)
    • Group B: add HTML commented links on just this post.    (view source on this page to see these links)
    • Group C: add a “real” link to these pages from this post.
SEO Test - Google HTML comments links
All webpages will link to Group A, only this post will link to Group B and Group C will have "real" links pointing to it from the post.

Here are the links to the two pages in Group C:

So, we will see if Google will pass PageRank to a URL in a comment, check back to see how this works – add predictions to the comments.